The GCL and DSL has a few interesting pitching prospects to keep an eye in future years
It's the final week of the minor league reviews, and if it wasn't for Tim and Jesse, we wouldn't have made it this far. This week, it's all about the Gulf Coast League and Dominican Summer League. We group them because there's just not enough data and information to get too excited about hardly any of these prospects. A few are notable, but with them being so far away, excitement is at a minimum.
For the GCL, it was a better year pitching wise for the entire league. The GCL Astros posted a 3.45 ERA as a team in 501 innings. They kept the hits fairly in check with less than a hit allowed per inning, but the walks killed them. Their WHIP was 1.39 and tied for last in the league. They allowed the fourth most walks as a team and had the lowest strikeout total.
Franco lead the team in innings and strikeouts in his return to the GCL, and really at the age of 19, wasn't too out of place age wise for a Latin America prospect. Despite leading the team in innings, he's not a big prospect as his window is very small. He did show improvement with both his walk rate and strikeout rate, but his hits rose. I imagine he will get a shot in Greeneville if he performs well in Extended Spring Training next year.
Rivera is already 21 and is in his 3rd season with the organization. He was drafted in the 37th round of the 2009 draft and is really just now starting to get some time. He pitched 15 innings his first year and then just 1 2/3 his second year. This year, he was 3rd in strikeouts for the team and pitched 36 innings. He also allowed just four walks during that time. It seems he's struggled with some injuries that have held him back and perhaps could start putting things together next season in a bullpen role.
It was his second season in the organization and his first stateside, and he didn't disappoint. He pitched 46 1/3 innings while striking out 32 while walking 15. Obviously, you'd like to see better numbers, but as a guy who had an above average groundball rate, I'll take it in his first experience away from home. His 2.14 ERA is shiny, but GCL numbers are useless. The 21 year old needs to show more in his second shot stateside next year.
He's 18 and from Panama. He pitched in the DSL last year and is now in his second season with the organization. He pitched 49 1/3 innings which was second on the team and only allowed one home run. He only struck out 26, so there is some concern moving forward.
There are other notable prospects, in the sense of we know who they are, but just didn't perform well. Jose Montero is still young but didn't perform very well, primarily because of walks. Same can be said for Brandon Culbreth, but the age issue isn't as much on his side.
The DSL team was plain awful this year. Their record was awful and they really weren't exciting at all. Surprisingly though, the team ERA was improved by about half a run but still ranked close to the bottom. They issued enough walks to sit in the bottom half while they were in the middle of the pack in terms of strikeouts.
Let's start this list with a doozie! He's 17 and stands 6'3 while being a lefty! Sounds great right? Well, this lefty lead the team in innings with 68 but walked 24 batters. To make that number a little more ugly, lets add in that he only struck out 22. The good news is that he posted a phenomenal 1.56 GO/AO ratio. He was effective against righties to an extent with a shiny 2.25 ERA and wasn't inflated since his BABIP was .278. But, his FIP and SIERRA indicate a pretty large regression. I wouldn't be surprised by either a return to DSL or a trip to GCL.
Samil De Los Santos
He's probably the best on the team right now as a 6'4 18 year old. He had a 2.50 ERA in his 57 2/3 IP and actually struck batters at a good clip. He posted a 9.83 k/9 and his BB/9 was 3.12 which is over 8 points lower than last year (15 1/3 IP). His FIP and SIERA indicate continued good performances so I think we could be looking at a real interesting prospect coming out of the DSL. He definitely gets a shot in the states next year.
There are tons of athletic 17-19 year old pitchers in the DSL that could be classified as interesting for one reason or another. Guys like Luis Abad came back and didn't blow hitters away so he didn't really take a step forward and there weren't any huge name signings on the roster either. But, the good news is that this team is littered with young pitchers which is a huge difference compared to years past when there were only a handful.